Tag Archive for: fly fishing

Winter Grayling Fishing Scotland

Introduction to Grayling fishing in Scotland

Winter Grayling fishing has risen in popularity over the years as anglers look to extend their fishing season to target what is arguably one of out most beautiful wild species to catch on fly in Scotland.

I can remember when I caught my first ever Grayling. Sporting a trendy streaked mullet and vest adorning an array of Troutmasters badges sewed on to the back for instant credibility amongst any passing anglers… Thankfully both “fashing faux pas” have been addressed.

This fish took a simple hares ear nymph suspended under a Klinkhammer dry fly. What a fight I got from this fish. I remember my anxiety levels peaking as my friend lazily waded downstream to help land it without a net!

This photo brings back a lot of good memories (excusing the hair-do & attire) & where my passion for this species all began!

Like many full time fishing guides, I rarely have time off to fish myself during the season. The first frosts and the end of the Salmon fishing season signal one thing to me – its Grayling season!

I am so passionate about Winter Grayling fishing that I have sacrificed the health of my fingers & toes in winter to pursue this majestic species for over 16 years now and I simply love it! There is something uniquely addictive about them. Some days they are so so easy, other days they go incognito!

Our aim with this article is to share our knowledge and experience to encourage more newcomers to this ever growing winter passion. Here we will attempt to answer the common questions many newcomers may have.

A Typical winter scene when Grayling fishing on the River Tweed

What Tackle do I need to fly fish for Grayling

These recommendations will help prepare you with the optimal fishing tackle set up to target Grayling in Scotland. Although these items are not 100% essential to catch Grayling, they will certainly aid your quest in targeting this exciting species.

Rods – The main technique we employ to catch Grayling is Euro-Nymphing. This is a high sticking nymphing style with no fly line outside the rod tip, just leader and tippet on/in the water. For this reason a softer actioned fly rod around 10-11 foot in length, weighted for a #2-4 line is optimal.

Why? The additional rod length will aid control when trying to present the nymphs on a drag free drift. The softer action rod will helps the flies load the rod for efficient casting. The softer action will also absorb those nasty head shakes and quick direction changes Grayling make once hooked.

Grayling are determined fighters, they do some weird almost somersault like movements when hooked and have soft soft fleshy mouths. If you fish with too stiff or heavy a rod you will experience long distance releases!

Reels – The fly reel is not super important for Grayling fishing, we do not require a high performance drag to stop these fish! However, I prefer to opt for a reel with a smooth drag so when I do hook up with bigger specimens in fast or high water and they decide to take off quickly, I can rely on a nice steady release of line.

For this reason – the Loop Opti Dry Fly is the one for me. The GOAT of fly reels in my opinion!

Line – Nowadays I do not even fish with a fly line on my grayling set up! I simply use more backing line! (Yes, I’m also a stereotypical frugal Scot…)

I rate these – other brands are available!

Leaders – Attached to the extra backing (or a fly line if you prefer). I now use monofilament sea/carp shock leaders for my nymphing leaders.
This particular breaking strain model has worked fine for me in the winter months.

If fishing low water conditions and lighter flies, choose a lighter breaking strain model. (Hends Camou Leaders are nice and light but do suffer from memory). This will make sure the weight of the leader does not impact the drift by dragging the flies unnaturally and losing complete tension.

I have been using a brand called ASSO and they have almost zero memory and come in a great colour for me.

Personally, I prefer high-vis to aid visual bite detection. In tricky light conditions it is much easier to find after casting, for clients or anglers new to this method.

Fullingmill’s indicators come like – perfect!

Indicators – For strike indicators I use the fullingmill bite indicator attached to my tapered nymphing leader. The braided indicators further aid your visual bite detection by adding more mass.

Also useful is Rio’s two-tone tippet. I prefer this for presentation purposes. Braided indicators (like above) once wet can create slight sagging and a less taught line which ultimately impacts presentation.

A good tip is to mark the tip of your indicator with waterproof Black permanent marker pen (like above). This will help it stand out against bright reflections.

The best, most reliable fishing line for winter grayling fishing in scotland!

Tippet – My preferred tippet of choice is Stroft ABR Monofilament. Thin, supple and reliable knot strength, it has never let me down!
I have actually landed Salmon up to 12lbs on 1.8kg with a four fly cast!

I prefer the 2.3kg in high or dirty water conditions. This is mainly to absorb the shock on the leader when casting with heavier weighted flies required in such conditions.
In normal or lower clear water conditions I prefer the 1.8kg .

There are many reputable brands of tippet material out there. Opt for low diameter tippets. Not only will this aid your presentation, it will also help cut through the waters drag and help your nymphs achieve depth quicker.

Leader set up for winter Grayling Fishing

I generally fish with approximately 7-10ft of leader depending on the depth of the pools & tie on three nymphs spaced 18 inches – 30 inches apart. The spacing is determined by the river height, depth and clarity of water.

A simple rule to follow is the clearer and lower the water, the bigger the distance between flies. In high/dirty water conditions, the closer the flies are together to concentrate the weight and help achieve the depth. In low water we space them out more for less congestion spread the weight.

To tie my droppers I use the simple three turn water knot, also known as a surgeons knot.

What clothing should I wear for Winter Grayling fishing in Scotland?

Fishing through the Scottish winters at times will test most anglers endurance and ability to withstand the elements. The key to keeping comfortable is understanding how to layer your clothing effectively.

Base layers (Under layer) – It’s purpose is to wick moisture from the skin. For this reason I prefer thin Merino Wool or Polyester base layer pants and long sleeve tops.

Mid Layer (Insulating layer) – It’s purpose is to retain heat and insulate! For fishing, something with good heat retention properties when wet and dry. Primaloft is an excellent mid layer choice, as is fleece. I prefer Primaloft for its lightness. The Onka Pants and Jacket from Loop Tackle are exceptional for cold weather conditions. Nano Puff pants and jackets from Patagonia are excellent also.

Outer layer (Shell layer) – It’s purpose is to protect from the outer elements. Invest in a good quality waterproof jacket like the River Salt from Patagonia or Loop Tackle’s Torne Wading jacket. These jackets will keep you dry and comfortable in harsh conditions and withstand years of use!

Socks – A good quality Merino wool sock is a must! I suggest the Loop Merino Hot Wool Socks or Patagonia Merino wool socks.

Other accessories – A wool or fleece Buff/snood. Wind proof wool hat & fingerless gloves! Don’t forget polarised sunglasses to protect your eyes also.

Another key tip to stay warm when fishing in the depths of Scottish winters is to fish in short intervals. Brisk walking between pools will help keep the circulation going to keep you comfortable and ultimately fishing for longer.

What type of pools/water will I catch Grayling in?

The perfect winter grayling fishing pool would be on a slight bend, a rippled surface, faster neck, slowing down into medium pace with a slight drop off.

In low or warmer water conditions Grayling can push into the necks of the pools to find more oxygenated water. However, this is not a given and Grayling will often lie in slower flows too. You will have to locate them on the day by fishing both areas and covering the water.

In high water conditions grayling will shelter from the main flow of the run. During such conditions they can be found on the edges/creases of the flow as-well as further down the pool. In very high water they are often right under your feet, tight to the bank out the flow!

Never discount a second run down a pool with a change of fly pattern or angle of attack. For me, the key point in Grayling fishing is getting down to them and finding them. Cover the water!

Fishing the creases in search for winter grayling

Seams – Seams or creases we often refer to. These are areas where two currents/flows meet and create an obvious seam between the two different flow speeds.

These are prime areas for most species of fish, particularly Grayling! Holding in the crease allows them to expend less energy and quickly intercept drifting food items in the faster water. In the photo above note the rippled surface of the water and bubble line – perfect habitat for grayling!

Depth – The rivers we fish in the Scottish lowlands we typically find Grayling in thigh depth upwards. I will always look for a reasonable depth of water.

As a faster runs starts to slow, steady and deepen with a rippled surface – this is always a safe bet to find a few Grayling!

Gravel & Pebble bottom – This is the classic looking bottom for Grayling and what they will tend to favour. However there are some rockier river systems where they lie amongst bigger rocks.

Drop-offs – Where a fast run drops slightly into deeper water Grayling will often be found.

From my experience, once you know there are Grayling in a pool they will be here for years. I am still fishing pools with clients where I caught my first ever Grayling – pretty cool!

Hopefully the above advice will lead to winter Grayling like this

Where can I fish for Grayling in Scotland?

Scotland is home to some of the best Grayling fishing rivers in Europe. There are a host of prolific rivers in Scotland that have healthy populations of Grayling. These are mostly found along the central belt of Scotland.

The main rivers for winter Grayling fishing in Scotland are the River Tweed, River Annan, River Clyde, River Earn, River Nith, River Tay, River Tummel and River Teviot. All are reachable within approximately one hour drive from from Edinburgh city centre.

There are a host of other smaller tributaries of these systems and others I have not mentioned. Permits can be obtained from most of the bigger river systems online.

What techniques do I need to catch Grayling in Winter?

There are a few techniques to catch Grayling. One close look at a Grayling will reveal an underslung mouth. This has evolved to aid with feeding on nymphs from the bottom of the riverbed. With that in mind we fish 2-3 nymph patterns with added weight in the form of tungsten beads. These dense additional beads allow our flies to hit the taking zone, the riverbed.

Euro-Nymphing – This is the most efficient way to present your flies on a drag free drift. Without the use of fly line on the water it is very effective and beginner friendly. You will require a specialist euro-nymphing tapered leader or some manufacturers do competition legal fly lines.

Indicator style – This is fished with a conventional fly line. Here we attach a bung or strike indicator to our leader to act as a visual indicator for bites. This method takes a lot of skills to fish effectively. You must learn to mend the fly line efficiently to keep the flies on a drag free presentation throughout the drift.

How to fish Euro-Nymph for Grayling (in short)

Our goal is to present our weighted nymphs on or near the bottom where the Grayling are feeding. We want to do this with as a natural a presentation as possible. We want the flies to drift with no drag and at the same speed as the flow. This is often referred to as “drag-free”.

Because we are using a euro-nymphing leader which is just tapered monofilament, there is no mass to cast the flies. Therefore, using a traditional casting technique will simply not work.

We must now swing or lob the flies – by bringing them to the surface when they are in a downstream/fished out position. Then taking the rod tip intowards the bank and lobbing them 45 degrees upstream with a windscreen wiper motion.

There is a slight pause to allow the flies to sink before picking up tension and tracking the flies as they drift downstream. As your flies fish downstream you will lower the rod to extend the drift, keeping the flies on the bottom as long as possible.
Please note, you should be feeling the bottom and getting snagged occasionally. If you aren’t then you need more weight on your flies!

I have the nymphing leader running in-between my middle and forefinger on my rod hand. This allows me to also feel for any bites and the bottom.

If you notice any and I mean ANY , pauses or unnatural movement on the indicator – strike! Don’t even second guess it. If there is nothing there you can quickly recast back in to the same run.

Pay attention at the end of the drift. As the flies reach the end of the drift they will lift from the bottom which will often induce a take. I automatically strike at the end of every drift as a matter of routine and it’s amazing how often you will do this and be into a Grayling.

Here is short demonstration of the casting motion and landing a Grayling on camera from start to finish! You can actually see the rod tip bend as the fish takes my fly. Second time lucky…

In the video you will note I play the fish gingerly whilst it does this looping and twisting like motion near the surface – you will lose them easily, like the first one I hooked if you are too hard. As they are shoal fish I try to persuade them out of the main run as quickly as possible and bring them out the main flow into my wading slipstream or the slackers water on the bank-side of me.

Once netted or landed keep the handling to a bare minimum. In warmer water Grayling do not response well to lots of handling out of the water. Although in winter it is less of an issue they must still be handled with great delicacy and respect.

Once netted, keep the fish in the net and unhook the flies with the fish in the water. If you plan on getting that all essential ‘grip n grin’ for the gram, have your camera ready before picking up the fish. As a simple rule if I have to lift the fish out the water it is for a few seconds at a time only which is enough to get a good shot and put the fish back in the water to keep wet.

What flies do I need to catch Winter Grayling

Bugs – Bugs, bugs and more bugs!! What are bugs?

Bugs are nymph style flies tied with weighted underbodies or weight added via tungsten beads. Like so:

They come in a variety of guides but the usual nymph patterns and variants are stalwarts! Have some Hares ear nymphs, Pheasant tail nymphs, Peeping Caddis, Hydropsyche larva, French Nymphs, red/pink/orange tags & egg flies and you will not go wrong. Depth is usually more important than pattern.

They do like a hotspot or a hint of flash and colour. Pink or purple is good in winter and red and orange any time! Don’t rule out drab patterns, particularly as the season progresses and they have seen millions of flashy pink like things!

In dirty water conditions I prefer to fish with brighter patterns or with fluorescent beads as this will help the fish locate the flies. Love it or hate it, the squirmy wormy in dirty water can be devastating at times!

What is the Grayling fishing season in Scotland?

The Grayling fishing season in Scotland is effectively a year round pursuit if you moved between river systems. However, we suggest not fishing for them during April & May. This will allow them peace to spawn and recover fully.

The main winter season starts when the Salmon fishing season ends in late Autumn on the various river systems. Traditionally this is October/November – March.

You will often spot grayling spawning in April, sometimes March in milder conditions. From my experience, this generally happens in the tail sections of the pools. The first observation is them chasing one another about. If you observe this behaviour, you know it is time to let them do their business.


How big do Grayling get in Scotland?

Grayling in Scotland have been caught up to 4lb in size with 3lb fish caught frequently every year in the main rivers.

Nowadays there are more 3lb plus Grayling than ever recorded by well meaning anglers on social media. Legitimately weighed 3lb plus Grayling are likely more scarce than it may seem! These are special, special size Grayling and fish of a lifetime for any angler and experienced rods will tell you this.

I’ve been fortunate to land multiple 3lb plus fish and witness an epic Grayling of 3lb 10oz! A colossal specimen by any standards!

There you have it. A comprehensive guide to winter Grayling fishing in Scotland. I truly hope this article inspires you to get out there and experience fishing at this magical time of year.

Here is our short video we produced to encompass winter grayling fishing in Scotland.

Written by Callum Conner: Head Guide & SGAIC instructor of Scotia Fishing: providing guided fishing trips in Scotland since 2013.

To find out more information on guided winter fishing trips in Scotland please contact us using the contact us form.

Best Pike Fishing in Scotland Near Edinburgh

Scotia Fishing have access to some of the best Pike fishing in Scotland near Edinburgh!

Edinburgh is a fantastic location to visit in Scotland. The city has all you would ever need as a tourist visiting Scotland. Beautiful architecture, historic streets, palaces, castles, a beach and one of Europe’s best cities for food and drink!

It also benefits from being ideally situated only one hour from beautiful countryside and some of the best Pike fishing!


Best Pike Fishing Guides

Scotland is a bit of a sleeping giant when it comes to Pike fishing. When you think of Scotland, you will likely think of Atlantic Salmon fishing. Scotland is the home of Salmon fly fishing, so we can fully understand this thinking.

However, we feel the Pike is the underdog, If the Salmon is the king, the Pike is the prince!


Our Head Guide Callum Conner is recognised as one of the best pike fishing guides in Scotland.
He’s been a fanatical Pike angler from a young age. Covering the length and breadth of Scotland to amass a wealth of knowledge on Scotland’s best Pike lochs and when it is best to fish these lochs. 

During this time he has built up a respectable record of large 20lb plus Pike captures. He’s also one of only a hand-full of anglers in the country to have caught a wild of Pike of over 40lbs! (image above)

Using this experience we will guide you on carefully chosen venues to suit your experience.


Best Pike Fishing Lochs in Scotland near Edinburgh

Pike fishing in Scotland will take you into some of the most beautiful scenery the country has to offer. Fishing the iconic Scottish glacial lochs with roaring stags and aggressive tail walking Pike to interrupt the tranquility.

The glacial lochs are the ultimate challenge for the visiting Pike angler. Due to their size, local knowledge is paramount to success.

A good guide will use his experience to assess the conditions and how best to fish the loch. This will maximise your chances of success.

The glacial lochs are the best for larger Pike. We recommend booking a minimum of three days to give you the best chance at landing a 2olb plus specimen!

We’re fortunate enough to have come across some lesser known private lochs and have gained privileged access for our clients.

These private lochs have some of the best Pike fishing in Scotland near Edinburgh. Big numbers of hard fighting Pike can be caught here all year round.

These lochs have fewer 20lb plus Pike, but lots of sporting Pike in the 4-10lb class which are outstanding on light gear and fly!


Best Fishing Methods to catch Pike in Scotland

Spring Pike Fishing

In early spring the Pike can be be lethargic until the water warms up. During this period we will fish for Pike with bait (dead-baiting) during the morning session.

After lunch we will try fishing from the boat with lures and flies in shallow to medium depth water. Using a depth finder to locate the drop-offs from shallow bays into deeper water with sinking fly lines. 

Once the water has warmed up and the Pike have spawned by mid to late May we will fly fish from the boat with 9ft #9 fly rods from Loop Tackle and streamer style flies or for spinning anglers we use light lure fishing rods 7ft in length rigged with fixed spool reels, braided mainlines equipped with an array of soft plastic, spinner baits and surface lures from Sakura-Fishing. 

Summer Pike Fishing

Summer pike fishing is our favourite! This time of year we can find the Pike in shallow areas and sometimes sight cast to them with surface lures and surface flies. This is the best way to catch pike in Scotland!

Pike will often bow wave chasing fast stripped flies just subsurface. At this time of year your guide will use the Minn-Kota engine to manoeuvre quietly into position for you to reach the sun-bathing Pike!

Autumn/Fall Pike Fishing

Autumn/Fall see’s us revert back to Spring style tactics for pike fishing. As the water cools so does the Pike’s willingness to chase a bait. This all depends on the climate at the time. It is Scotland – so very hard to predict!

As October approaches the Pike will be slowing down and lure fishing opportunities become restricted to the warmer mid-day before eventually resorting to dead-baiting all day. 

Winter Pike Fishing

We fish for Pike using dead-baits mostly from October to April. This method involves fishing with static baits.

Using a variety of different frozen baits we cast into the loch at various areas using a selection of rods to cover a suitable area. As the baits thaw the scent permeates into the water.

The Pike has a very advanced sense of smell and will sniff out the baits, sometimes very quickly. On its day, this is a very effective method and large catch days are possible.

Has this post wetted your appetite to try some Pike fishing?

Read our reviews on Tripadvisor about pike fishing near Edinburgh.

For more information on Pike fishing trips in Scotland, you can contact us via the “Contact Us” button at the top of the page.

Fishing In Iceland

This year in June I had the opportunity to go Fishing in Iceland with a great guy Nick (whom I guided the previous year on the Tay) and his friend Hamish. Despite his name, Hamish is not Scottish and is in fact Australian!

Nick and Hamish were already in Iceland with their partners exploring the country. I was scheduled to meet up with them in Reykjavik where we would then drive north for approximately five hours to Husavik where we would then meet Iceland Fishing Guide Matthías Þór Hákonarson


Iceland Fishing Guide

The Journey to Iceland
I booked my flights via SkyScanner, flying from Glasgow to Heathrow, then Heathrow to Reykavijk. There is only one direct flight per week to Reykavijk from Scotland – oddly. I flew with British Airways and Icelandair.

My journey to Iceland turned into a bit of a nightmare in all honesty. Having arranged the flights with plenty of layover time I found myself in Glasgow Airport with my flight delayed and no schedule, great…

I have not had much luck flying to Heathrow in the past. I think every flight I’ve had there has been delayed or cancelled! Anyway, a one hour delay turned into a six hour delay meaning I would now be late for my Heathrow to Reykavijk flight, arriving at the departure time.

Whilst on the plane I managed to find a group of Icelandic people in the same predicament as me, they felt they may keep the gates open. We struck up conversation with me telling them how Scotland had adopted Iceland in the Euro’s after knocking out England from the competition :).

We had to run from terminal 2 to terminal 5 with a fifteen minute coach tour and sprint with 20lbs plus of camera luggage on my back – still unaware if the flight had been delayed for us. Arriving at the gates we could hear the staff shouting us to hurry up – what a relief! A big group hug and we split up to find our seats aboard the plane.

After arriving at Reykavijk Airport I waited for 45 mins in the baggage collection area, no sign of my bag. A visit to the help desk would reveal they were still London, brilliant! At least I had made it to Iceland but I had nothing apart from my camera equipment. They did however give me a toothbrush, some shower gel, shampoo, razor and a XXL white tee shirt? No waders or fly rods though unfortunately!

I was told my stuff would be flown to me at my accommodation but would be unlikely to arrive until the second day of my trip! I headed to my hotel and borrowed an iPhone charge to charge my phone and tried to laugh it off.


Some stunning views, it could almost be Scotland…

Day 1 Fishing in Iceland 
I met with Nick the following morning at my hotel before driving to the hire place to change our vehicle and collect Hamish before starting the long and scenic drive up to Husavik.

The drive was really cool, it allowed me to see of the famous Icelandic scenery. The most striking thing for me was the colour of the rivers. It is ridiculously clear and almost blue like in some places. The landscape is also very similar to Scotland in some areas.


Bloody camera geeks…

A lunch stop and some garage stops along the way quickly made me realise how expensive stuff really was in Iceland! If you’re going to Iceland, be aware, it is not cheap! Alcohol  prices are insane. Sorry for sounding so Scottish like, but it’s a fact!

We met up with Matti at his home where we would then follow him up to our lodge by the river.

After explaining my luggage predicament I was pleased to know our Iceland Fishing Guide could supply me with a jacket, waders and boots. Hamish borrowed me some fishing clothing and a brand new rod and reel, which I would later christen before him! (Sorry Hamish)

We got unpacked and quickly set up all the gear rapidly in excitement at what the first session would be like!

Our first days fishing in Iceland was a five hour evening session. Hamish was first up to fish for Salmon. Good news was Matti reckoned there were a few fish about, not loads but the ones that were here were multi sea winter fish in the 10 – 15lb bracket.

Nick and I opted to go fishing for Trout first and on route Matti stopped at this little stream by the road to show us some Char.


How fishy does that look?

I had never caught a Char before and this was the species highest on my agenda!

We fished for twenty minutes in this small stream and managed to hook one or two each before moving to the main river for Trout.


Nick lands a nice Char whilst minding the electric fence…

Matti set me up with this bright Pink nymph and said it was the best fly – I just looked at him with uncertainty. Really? I cannot name on here what he referred to it as but it was an interesting name…


The Pink Fella…

Dropping us up river Matti told us how to fish the fly before leaving with Hamish in search of silver!

It didn’t take long to suss out the Brown Trout fishing. Fishing downstream and across, streamer style I was constantly on the move, stepping, casting, swinging and twitching the fly back occasionally to induce takes. Within a couple of hours I had covered a lot of water and managed to land a number of Brown Trout up to 3lbs.


Beautiful colouration on their cheeks!

After a few hours Matti arrived back with a rather jubilant looking Hamish, it was clear there had been success! Hamish had managed to land the first Salmon of the trip!


Hamish with a great Icelandic Atlantic Salmon!

Hamish also hooked and lost one stripping a Monkey that session.

I swapped with Hamish and headed with Matti back to the pool where Hamish lost his fish. I got into the water and warmed up with a few casts while Matti told me to aim at the boils on the far side of what was quite a slow moving pool.

The method was to allow the line to swing slightly under tension before stripping back the fly with long, steady pulls. Within the first few casts I saw a bow wave appear and kept stripping. Suddenly a big boil broke the surface and, bang, fish on!

I played the fish for no longer than a minute then it suddenly went slack. Bugger! These Atlantic’s are no different than back home!


Matti collects us at the end of the day…

We tried some other spots that night but no other fish were hooked. Matti gathered everyone up in the Jeep and took us back to the Goat House (the name of our accommodation).

Hákon was the chef (Matti’s father) and had a meal almost prepared for us on arrival – what a great service!


Top guy and chef Hakon

We all sat down to a fantastic evening meal prepared by Hákon consisting of Icelandic Lamb, Roast Vegetables and Hakon’s signature “gravy macaronis”. Simply immense!
The meals over our times were excellent and we couldn’t fault one bit.

A few wines and expensive beers were had that night as we all shared the usual fish stories and had a good banter. Matti has a great sense of humour and had us in stitches with his stories!

Day 2 Fishing in Iceland
On the second day we had two five hour sessions. The Scandinavians love to rest their rivers, so we fished morning and evening sessions allowing a break of a good few hours in the afternoon. I was back out with the Salmon rod again whilst Hamish and Nick pursued the local Brown Trout populations.

The main thing that’s different when fishing for Salmon in Iceland than here in Scotland is the fishing is done by sight 90% of the time. Matti would drive down the beat, stopping the jeep to go and observe from the canyons and spot any Salmon below.


Matti searches for Silver down the canyons…

Matti and I spent all morning on this and didn’t come across a single Salmon. The river had risen slightly overnight and we concluded that the Salmon had probably pushed up river with the rising water. We stopped for lunch and met up with the guys who had been doing well, landing several brown trout up to 3lbs all morning.


It reminds me very much of the Upper River Clyde!

I was so pleased to get back to the lodge and see my belongings had been delivered!

After lunch we were able to go and fish the local stream that runs by the Goat House. Matti had said this produced a few Trout, not as many as the main river but generally much bigger average size. Hamish and Nick opted for this and I chose to go hit my little favourite Char pool!

With Char being a new species the novelty was not wearing off. I spent two hours in the one are catching Char after Char. Changing flies regularly I was able to keep the bites coming. To be fair any pattern worked to start with!


A typical Icelandic char before release…

That day the rain was relentless, sideways at times. At one point I could hardly open my fly box my fingers were that numb! It was around 7/8 degrees celsius and with the wind chill and sideways rain it felt much colder! It was like fishing in Scotland in spring – but this was summer!


Fish on!

Matti came to pick me up with the boys to head out again for the evening session. The guys had managed a couple of Trout around 5lb size – epic for such a tiny stream!

Nick was now trying for a Salmon whilst myself and Hamish were left up river to harass the resident browns!

Sporting the same tactics as before but with my trusty Loop Cross S1 #5 I waded out a few feet from the bank and kept casting, stepping, swinging and twitching back flies to tempt the trout. I honestly don’t recall fishing as easy as this, every where you thought a Trout would be, you would cast, twitch and bang, fish on!


These Browns are well fed!

To be honest after a couple of hours I was more than content having landed in excess of 40 hard fighting acrobatic brown trout up to 3lbs in weight. It was incredible sport!

Eventually I met up with Matti and Nick who were keen to see how I had got on. Nick had no luck finding any Salmon, like myself earlier. He had decided to go back and fish for some browns and get some action.

Hamish fancied another shot at the Salmon so I fished on with Nick and tried to get some images.


Nick with a typical brown trout

The sport had slowed down as it got noticeably colder but we still managed to catch a few before calling it a night.

It was back to the goat house for wine, food and a bit of craic!


Dinner & Wine Time

Day 3 Fishing in Iceland
The last day would see us fish in the morning up until lunch time. I chose to hit the Salmon with Hamish coming along also to take turns should we land a Salmon.

Matti drove around a couple of pools looking for fish until we found some.


The views from the road…

“Oh yes, big Salmon and one huge Trout next to it – can you see”. The Salmon then broke the surface and looked pretty clean and a fair size considering I was about 30ft plus above it.

I kept myself calm whilst Matti suggested the best way to cover it.

The dilemma we had here is if we go too close to the brown trout, he would take the fly and ultimately spook the Salmon. I was positioned up river 25/30ft and also above the river level another 30ft plus I had to wiggle out line from the rod tip and allow the current to position the fly past the Salmon before stripping across slightly to entice him. It was an interesting and challenging presentation.

First cast I was a little short. Second cast I was in the zone and watched as the Salmon rose up for the fly twice missing it! Wow, that was pretty cool. I then thought to myself “I’ve missed my chance”.
Third cast he came up missed, came back and got it!

Fish on!


Trying to keep the leader of the sharp rocks – nasty!

It was a first for me to watch a Salmon take my fly like this, I was pumped as I played this fish from a very precarious position. It was probably the most nerve racking fight I’ve had from a fish on fly. I had an audience, it was the last day and would I get another chance before we flew home? Not only that, from my elevated position I had to watch every head shake of the Salmon as it bore up and down the pool whilst rubbing its side along the sharp rocks.

What was this fish trying to do to me?

The fight seemed to last an eternity, it always does in these situations. Matti was top notch throughout and explained the landing technique!

Once the fish was tired I had to allow her to fall back with the current to the end of the pool where Matti was with the net.


Iceland Fishing Guide Matti at the net ready…

We got her close too early and as soon as she saw Matti’s face she shot back into the neck of the pool again up the canyons – who could blame her? Second time she turned and slowly came down stream and I knew this was the right moment and tried to guide her slowly towards Matti who had no trouble getting her at first attempt.

A few “Woo Hoo’s” were hollered down that canyon let me tell you! Now I had to work out how to get down to Matti for the photos…


What is a Salmon fishing in Iceland trip without the obligatory grip and grin?

Weighing around mid teens I was very happy with this Salmon on a single handed fly rod. It had a missing adipose fin and what looked like nets,seal or porpoise damage but it did not detract any of its beauty for me. A Salmon, is a Salmon in my eyes! I was more than stoked to end on a high and give the rod up to Hamish.


Hamish swings his fly in a last attempt for some Icelandic Silver

We searched on for the last hour or so looking for another Salmon but never came across any. It was time to meet up with Nick who had spent the remaining morning chasing browns then headed back to the lodge for the final time.
Packing  up our gear we then said our goodbyes to Hakon and Matti thinking them for their hospitality and making our fishing in Iceland experience so memorable. Hopefully we get to meet again sometime in the future. I’d love to get Matti into a Tay springer!


A fair few scenic shots were taken from the car…

We all headed back down the road taking our time to absorb the scenery and reflect on what a great few days we just had. The drive is spectacular for a fisherman as you get to wonder whats in every river you pass. We did see quite a lot of fisherman on both journeys and watched one angler land a Salmon below some waterfalls!

We also decided to stop by Lake Myvatn and seen some geo-thermal activity. It’s like being on Mars as sulphur bubbles out the ground, shoots of steam and water bursting through the ground creating a warm humid air. It’s so bizarre and definitely worth seeing.

We arrived in Reykavijk for the last night before flying out early the next morning, we loaded our stuff into our accommodation then went out for some dinner in the city centre. The next morning I dropped the guys off at the airport and took back the car to the hire shop before catching my own flight home to Glasgow – which was on time by the way!

For anyone thinking of fishing in Iceland, I would thoroughly recommend fishing with Matti from Iceland Fishing Guide. They’re very reasonably priced for Iceland fishing. Matti’s a great guide and host who will do his utmost to get you into the fish!

Summer Fishing in Scotland 2016 Update

The 2016 Summer fishing in Scotland is almost coming to an end – where have the months gone!
Apologies for the lack of updates with the blog, we’ve had a lot going on at Scotia HQ.

We’ve had a very positive season with many clients visiting from across the globe including USA, Canada, Australia, Europe and Asia. Our summer has been rather cold, which although not so pleasant for those visiting the country on vacation, has made for better fishing conditions!


Scotland in summer, it takes some beating for natural beauty!

Late spring and summer period has seen some great fishing spells for all species, particularly salmon. The Tay has received consistent runs throughout the summer months with many multi sea winter Salmon mazing an appearance throughout the river system.
The lower river has fished particularly well from July onwards, with some beats having their best July for over a decade!


Returning the new record Salmon landed 18lbs of Tay silver!

Our clients felt the rewards of this with some good catches. The highlight of the bunch had to be returning customer Jacopo (only 13 years of  age) landing a Tay powerhouse 18lb Atlantic Salmon!

Kid Catches 18lbs Salmon From River Tay Scotland! from Scotia Fishing on Vimeo.

This young man is a little superstar!

Also having a great day was big Sebi from Switzerland with a stunning brace of Tay silver on the fly! Not bad for your first time ever Spey casting!


A few “woo hoos” were in order!

His girlfriend also lost two spinning – what a day that could have been!

With the colder weather our rivers fished very well and we had much better brown trout fishing than last year. We picked up a number of nice browns on nymphs during this period.


Robert (Rab) aka 603 Fly Guy with a nice brown on the Euro nymphing set up!

I had a great day out with Robert on the river chatting about all things fishy – the fishing was as good as the banter also!

Cody had a cracker right at the close of play, proving it pays to fish hard to the end!


Cody’s new PB Brown Trout on the Frenchie…

As well as the ever obliging and very welcome Grayling…


Rafael’s first ever Grayling!

The Hill loch brown trout fishing has been hit or miss, on the colder days it has almost felt like winter up at these higher altitudes, putting the fish down. We have still managed to catch a few though!


It can be cold up on the tops of these hills. Still as beautiful though!

Leonard had some good sport fishing traditional Scottish wet fly tactics.


Leonard with an average wild brown trout…

The Pike fishing has been consistently good with fly and modern lure fishing tactics. For a couple of weeks the big fish were hard on the feed and our clients landed some great pike during this period on lures..

The biggest of the season so far goes to Piotr using light lure fishing tackle.


As fat as they get, this Pike was sitting under some of the largest shoals of Perch fry I have ever seen!

Chad managed a cracking first ever Pike on the fly.


A hard fighting Pike on fly…

Just look at the beautiful colouration on these Pike!

I managed a couple of short breaks myself including a three day trip to Iceland (report to follow soon). I also took a recent foray up to the Highlands with my partner. We were unlucky with the weather though and endured some spectacular wind and rainstorms, which put an end to the fishing, but made for some interesting photographs!


Tornado like wind storms up in the Highlands of Scotland

The summer fishing period in Scotland is coming to an end for 2016. With the arrival of Autumn we hit one of the best times of year to fish for all fresh water species in Scotland.
It is also one of the most beautiful seasons to be on the water with the leaves turning on the trees and misty mornings – I can’t wait!

Tight lines!

Callum Conner

Scotia Fishing Head Guide
SGAIC Qualified & Loop Tackle endorsed Instructor